CAEL Receives $15.7 Million Grant From Truist Foundation to Strengthen Financial Services Career Pathways

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a nonprofit organization helping adult learners navigate on- and off-ramps between education and employment, announced it has been awarded a $15.7 million grant from Truist Foundation. The CAEL and Truist Foundation partnership encompasses a six-year multicity initiative that prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC) as well as underserved communities by building career paths in professions and industries historically unavailable to them, such as financial services.

“Our work with CAEL will provide the tools adult learners, workforce organizations, postsecondary institutions and service providers need to ensure individuals can secure a position and prosper within previously inaccessible industries,” said Lynette Bell, president of Truist Foundation. “Beyond our grant, Truist Bank intends to partner with CAEL to hire some of the talented adult learners who participate in the initiative’s career pathways.”

Championing adult learner success for more than 40 years, CAEL has established and grown partnerships with workforce organizations, employers, postsecondary education institutions, regions and communities across the nation. CAEL will be partnering with nationally recognized organizations for this initiative, including CareerWork$ (BankWork$ program), CollegeAPP, Emsi Burning Glass, PAIRIN, and Riipen.

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The supportive ecosystem created by CAEL’s work and partnership with Truist Foundation will allow adult learners to gain access to meaningful employment while creating and sustaining a diverse talent pipeline for the financial services industry. This initiative will roll out in five communities over the next six years.

CAEL’s partnership with Truist Foundation will:

  • Establish partnerships with local community colleges and postsecondary institutions to ensure all adult learners have access to affordable remote and in-person classes with flexible hours and curricula, prioritizing effectiveness for women and BIPOC adult learners.
  • Establish partnerships with local Workforce Development Boards.
  • Provide support and resources to workforce organizations in the region to connect more job seekers to higher-wage jobs and long-term career opportunities.
  • Provide training and tools to organizations in the financial services industry to encourage them to hire talented and diverse adult learners and support them as candidates and employees, setting them up for success.
  • Explore potential partnerships with service providers such as local child care centers, transportation services, mental health organizations and other areas to ensure services are available and accessible, allowing adult learners to face fewer barriers when entering the financial services workforce.

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This comprehensive support system aims to make it possible for women, BIPOC and other underrepresented adult learners to secure, persist and excel in their careers.

“A lack of coordination among postsecondary institutions, employers and workforce organizations has limited opportunities to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within many industries, including financial services,” said Earl Buford, CAEL president. “This generous support from Truist Foundation will allow CAEL to bring about collaboration among educators, workforce developers, employers and service organizations to build more equitable and comprehensive pathways into financial services and adjacent industries for adult learners who have long faced systemic barriers to rewarding occupations.”

Expensive hurdles such as education, transportation and child care prevent many qualified individuals from pursuing employment opportunities. CAEL’s work and partnership with Truist Foundation will uplift individuals within an empowering career path, diversify the financial services sector, provide individuals the opportunity to generate sustainable and generational wealth and provide support and resources to workforce organizations and educational institutions.

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